If you have gone through the trouble to start a website to make money through affiliate marketing, you may be wondering when the money starts rolling in.  Unfortunately, you do need to do a little bit of work on your own before you can sit back and count your cash.  Affiliate marketing, if you are unaware, is the process of making a small bit of money off of the purchases that someone makes after clicking a link on your site that leads them to a site like Amazon.

If you have already chosen your niche topic, created your web site, and started adding your original content, you’ve already started the ground work necessary to create a great money making affiliate marketing site.  However, you can’t just stop there.

After creating the content, you should find all of the affiliate programs that most appropriately match what it is that you are writing about.  Many of the major online shopping sites have affiliate marketing programs.  Explore Amazon, EBay, Google, Share a Sale, Linkshare, Commission Junction, and ClickBank.  Read up on the terms that they offer to their affiliates, and see which one works best for you.

Remember, that for many of these programs, you aren’t just getting paid for something specific you link to, you will also get money if they buy anything through a link from you.  So, for example, if you write about cooking, and link to a rice cooker that you recommend, you won’t just get paid if they purchase that specific rice cooker.  You also can get paid if they then go and buy Season 2 of the Simpsons on DVD. That is why it is even more important to have engaging original content on your web site.

After you determine which sites have the affiliate programs you like best, use their html to add the links or the advertisements to your web site.  If you are using WordPress, this is an easy change to the template by using their sidebars.  Don’t forget that the links don’t have to stay static within the sidebar, you can also write about products and link to them as part of the content that you add to the site.

Once your audience starts to follow your links onto the shopping sites and make purchases, then you start to actually make money.  This is where all of your hard background leg work starts to pay off. Some sites require you to earn a specific amount of money before you can withdraw your earnings, so make sure that you are familiar with the specific terms of each of the affiliate programs you choose to participate in. Pay attention to the keywords, posts, and pages that have been attracting the most customers and clicks.  Use the site’s analytics to your advantage so you can repeat what works, and not waste your time with things that don’t work.

After you get your first affiliate marketing site up and working, then your second will be exponentially easier.  You already know how to set it up, now you just have to make it happen.

John Rampton is a PPC Entrepreneur, Author, Founder at Due a finance company helping small business owners. Follow me on Twitter @johnrampton

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